I don’t know if I know what it feels like to fit in. I don’t mean that in a “Whoa, look how impossibly cool and unattainably awesome human being I am, I am SO different” sort of way. I mean that in a, “What is it like to feel like you belong somewhere?” sort of way. I am not writing this for sympathy, or to craft a gag-worthy self-loathing bout or some pity party. I guess I just want to vet these feelings by someone other than myself with the unconfirmed sort of knowing that I have that I am not really alone, in my loneliness.
Throughout my entire life, I have been the subject of some sort of social bullying, or part of some due process of being out-casted, a process I am conveniently never invited to attend. I remember being six years old and coming home from school crying so hard I vomited, and this continued every day for years. I remember not feeling comfortable and safe anywhere that I ever went. I always had the feeling that even the people I liked could abandon me in moments when I needed them the most, and that’s because they often did.
This sort of social trauma in the foundational years of my life have carried into the formation of the adult that I am today. I am the sort of person that is usually very quiet and to myself. I like to feel out a group before I make my presence known. But, after some time of feeling like maybe I can let a little bit of my personality roam free, I’ll showcase my favorite aspect of myself: my wit. I thrive on sarcasm, and I feel like it works for me. I like to laugh at life. Life is a lot of pain, when it really is boiled down. If you don’t know how to laugh you’re only going to know how to cry. Right?
Well, evidently, wrong. Maybe my people-reading skills could use some deep cleaning. I’m in my mid-twenties now and it is just starting to dawn on me that I have never really “fit in” (what does that even mean?) anywhere that I have ever worked, and I am starting to worry that it’s a problem. I’m not narcissistic enough to think that I could not possibly be the problem. I am the common denominator, I get it. But there are only so many work lunches, celebrated birthdays and the like that a single person can tolerate purposefully not being involved in before they start to rip at the seams, the seams that I have carefully woven, to disallow anyone from truly being able to know or hurt me.
So what is the point in sharing all of this? Well, if you’re a working human being, reach out to that quiet person that keeps to themselves. Invite your whole team to lunch. Smile at a stranger just because you know it will make them feel good. If you’re a parent, raise your child to know better than to make people feel uncomfortable, hurt, or sad just because it’s easier to be that way.
If you’re feeling sad, alone, or all around lonely, please reach out to me. I am here for you. You are not alone.